A Primer to the Emerging Extractive Sector in Kenya: Resource Bliss, Dilemma or Curse

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Post Date: 12 August 2014

In any economy, the extractive sector (ES) consists mainly of oil, gas and mining activities. This is a sector with great potential to enhance an economy. Indeed, experience in countries such as Norway, Canada, Botswana and Ghana suggests that extractives can be effectively managed to contribute to sustainable economic growth. Experience, however, in other parts of the world including Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR), suggest that extractives if not well managed can be a curse leading to conflict.
Presently, extractives in Kenya contribute approximately one per cent to gross domesticproduct (GDP). The sector is however emerging. In the recent past, there have been oil andmore mining discoveries in Kenya. For instance, oil has been discovered in Turkana County, andthere are new discoveries in the mining sectors for minerals such as titanium in Kilifi Countyand coal in Kitui County. In addition, Kenya is actively undertaking off shore explorations withthe aim of making gas discoveries.


The growing extractive sector in Kenya means that there is need to give more attention tothe social and economic dynamics of the sector. For instance, when Kenya discovered oilin Turkana County in March 2012, the Government was faced with emergent issues suchas environmental implications, community obligations and rights, a suitable governanceframework, and effective utilisation of resources generated from the sector.

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